HUNDREDS of commuters had their journeys disrupted after thieves stole 50 metres of cable from South Kirkby railway tracks.
Ten trains were cancelled and 175 services were delayed for a total of more than 35 hours after the incident at around 4.45am last Tuesday.
British Transport Police (BTP) is now appealing for information about the theft and Crimestoppers has put up a £1,000 reward for any information leading to the arrest and conviction of cable thieves.
Officers from the BTP will also be carrying out an increased number of high visibility patrols in the area and will be leafleting local residents.
Det Sgt Granville Sellers said: “The cut cable affected early morning commuter trains on a busy line between Leeds and Doncaster. The theft also affected trains on the East Coast main line travelling between Leeds and London.
“This sort of attack causes serious disruption to train services and the travelling public. The act of stealing cable is an extremely dangerous crime, which is costly to the rail industry and to the thousands of passengers who rely on the rail network.
“Officers are clamping down on cable thieves and with specialised operations in key hot spots we are arresting more people than ever before.
“We also conduct regular visits to scrap metal dealers to check any cable which may have been sold by the thieves for profit. What they don’t realise is just how little they make. Is it worth risking your life accessing the rail line for £50 in your pocket?
“I am now appealing for anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area, or who has any information regarding this incident, to contact us.”
Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, said: “Cable theft is a serious issue – disrupting and delaying both passengers and essential freight deliveries. We will look for the courts to reflect the misery caused by these individuals when they are caught and brought for sentencing.”
Anyone with information should call the BTP on 0800 405040, quoting reference B11/NEA of September 20, or call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.